The Devil’s Playground by J. Black

I am a huge Jenna Black fan, but I do have to admit that while I loved The Devil’s Playground, I am left with a little dissatisfaction as well.

Morgan Kingsley, a kick-ass exorcist, can deal with Lugh, the supersexy demon living inside her, but does he have to moan softly during her intimate moments with her mortal lover? Understandably, Brian is reluctant to share the pleasures of Morgan’s flesh with a gorgeous rogue from the Demon Realm.

But personal matters will have to wait when the opportunistic owner of the Seven Deadlies demon club in Philadelphia enlists Morgan’s help in heading off a crisis: It seems that demons have started showing up at the hot spot in alarming numbers and in the unwilling bodies of rough trade club-goers. Morgan is sure that Dougal, Lugh’s sworn enemy, is behind this, but why? To find out, Morgan must summon every ounce of power at her command—or risk becoming just another casualty in an all-out demon war.

Don’t get me wrong, everything that I love about the Morgan Kingsley series was there, but I think that’s part of the problem.  With only five books in the series, I want more. We’re given this strong character who has had her life torn to shreds over and over again that the ending seemed oddly hurried.  I think that is where my dissatisfaction is coming from – the idea that I’m being hurried through a story with an amazing cast of characters. The ending almost seems like it was too easy.  I think I now understand how some were feeling when they read how the vampires won over Marmee Noir in LK Hamilton’s Anita Blake series.  I’m not saying the same thing happened here, but it does seem a little anti-climatic.  I don’t want to give anything away, but I’ll be honest in saying that I thought the ultimate battle was going to be a bit bigger that what it actually was.

Now, none of this in no way takes away from the story.  Black does another amazing job with her characters and you can definitely tell that both Brian and Morgan have changed since their first appearance in The Devil Inside. Andy is even more present than in previous novels and what he ends up doing surprises a lot of people, including myself.  Dom and Adam…well, they are Dom and Adam and if you don’t already love them, then nothing they can do will change that.  Needless to say, I simply adore these two very much in love men.  They are probably two of the best supporting characters I’ve come across and I will miss hearing about their kinky tales, that’s for sure.

As for the plot, there is one aspect to it that makes me extremely happy – it doesn’t have to be the end.  Black has left a ton of holes open that she could easily come back with a sixth novel (and more).  I am in love with the world she has created and I’m going to hate not being able to return to it, but not only does Black bring the war into Lugh’s favor, it doesn’t come quietly.  There is so much left unexplained, so much that the public has to adjust to, that I am left with the dream that Morgan will grace the shelves of my favorite bookstore again.

As for the actual meat of the story, what can I say that won’t spoil it for anyone?  There was never a dull moment, but that doesn’t mean it was actioned packed.  It has a great pace which had my heart racing to see what was going to happen next as well as times where Morgan was able to rest and get some therapy from Lugh.   Although, if I have to be honest, which I do, this is probably where I think I feel the story was hurried.  The conflict was there, hell, it brought the final confrontation with Dougal, but everything seemed to fall into place even when it didn’t appear like it was going to be.

Overall, I am very sadden that this is the end to the Morgan Kingsley series, but The Devil’s Playground is another amazing read from a great writer.  I simply could not put this book down.  I am going to miss the world of Morgan Kingsley, but just knowing there are a few opportunities available has given me a little hope.  Regardless of it being the end, Black shows us her masterful skill with continuing to develop the fascinating character that is Morgan and all of her cohorts.  That is the one thing I love about this series, it’s not just about her, it’s hard not to love all of her allies.

Read Order:
The Devil Inside
The Devil You Know
The Devil’s Due
Speak of the Devil
The Devi’s Playground

Also reviewed by:
CEm’s Book Hideout


Okay, seriously now, I have to say that I’m not thrilled with who Morgan ends up with.  I have nothing against Brian, but he seems too “it’s my way or the highway” at times.  He doesn’t always think about Morgan, even when he thinks he is.  He especially proves this to me in The Devil’s Playground.  It just seems like if he doesn’t like something, then it has to change because he can’t be wrong.  I was actually kind of hoping that Lugh ended up in a new body, a male body, and took Morgan away from Brian.  Then the two could have their own kinky relationship.  Granted, that probably would have totally changed the dynamic of the series, but it is ending.  At least this way, if Black ever does gives us a new story, their relationship could be plot fodder because I can’t see them in a HEA situation – not with Brian’s hangups about Lugh.

About Jackie 3282 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.